Talking in Code: Wall and partition surfaces
Want to know more about roof truss failures? Have a question about fire-rated assemblies? Confused about safety glazing on windows and door? In our monthly column — Talking in Code — International Code Council code experts will address some of the typical questions asked of our technical services team regarding current code issues. This feature is not an ICC code opinion, nor is it a committee interpretation, but it is intended to provide clarification of code text for adopting jurisdictions, design professionals and members of the construction industry.
International Code: 2015 International Building Code
Question: Section 1210.2.2 specifies that walls and partitions within 2 feet of service sinks, urinals and water closets shall have a smooth, hard, nonabsorbent surface, to a height of 4 feet above the floor. Does paint over drywall qualify as smooth, hard, nonabsorbent surface?
Answer: Section 1210.2.2 stipulates that the material be “hard.” The intent of this section is that the surrounding material should not be of a type that is easily damaged such that the material could become absorbent and thus, not readily cleanable and sanitized. Painted drywall, even where coated with highly durable paints, does not meet the intent of Section 1210.2.2. The typical materials used for this application are ceramic tile, fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) panels, phenolic panels, laminated plastic panels, painted steel and stainless steel.
As always, code opinions issued by International Code Council staff are based on published Code Council codes and do not include local, state or federal codes; policies; or amendments. This opinion does not imply approval of an equivalency, specific product, specific design or specific installation and cannot be published in any form implying such approval by the International Code Council. As this opinion is only advisory, the final decision is the responsibility of the designated authority charged with the administration and enforcement of this code. All code citations reference the 2015 and 2018 International Codes unless otherwise specified.